Monday, May 20, 2013
Foundations of Teaching for Critical Thinking
9:00 a.m.—3:45 p.m. - Gerald Nosich, Ph.D
These workshop sessions, presented over a full day, will introduce you to the basic components of critical thinking and ways to build those components into the design of what you teach. The sessions are strongly participatory and approach critical thinking not as something additional to content, but rather as skills, insights, and values integral to understanding and internalizing content. The focus, therefore, is on illustrating how students can come to see what they are learning not as random bits and pieces of information to be memorized, but as a system with a definite set of logical relationships, and as an organized structure of concepts, principles, and understandings they must think their way through in order to learn content. Participants, sometimes individually, sometimes in groups, will be applying central concepts of critical thinking to their own classes and their own disciplines, with their own students in mind.
This workshop will focus on the most central concepts and dimensions of critical thinking: the elements of reasoning, the standards of critical thinking, and the intellectual traits of a critical thinker. The central task of the workshop overall is (a) to analyze, synthesize, and internalize the main concepts of critical thinking, and (b) to contextualize and apply them to one's own teaching. The guiding question throughout is "How can I help my students learn to think more critically in classes, in their disciplines, and in their lives outside the classroom?" Experienced i2a innovators will be available at each workshop table this year to enhance and help deepen the hands-on exercises and group dialogue.
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Using Just-in-Time Teaching to Promote Critical (and Reflective) Thinking
1:00 p.m.—3:15 p.m. - Scott Simkins, Ph.D.
To develop durable critical thinking skills and habits of mind, your students must repeatedly practice critical thinking concepts and apply them in varied ways, with opportunities for formative assessment and reflection. This session will engage participants in using Just-in-Time Teaching (JiTT) techniques to develop and promote students’ critical thinking skills, in particular those related to Paul and Elder’s elements of thought and intellectual standards. During the session participants will create one or more JiTT activities that can be used immediately in class and receive feedback on their work.
So what is Just-in-Time Teaching? JiTT is a student centered approach to teaching and learning that makes regular use of before-class questions to make visible – to both students and instructors – gaps in student understanding, as well as the nature of those gaps. JiTT questions are particularly effective when focused on the application of critical thinking skills to disciplinary concepts and ideas; the technique is flexible enough to be used in all disciplines across the academy. Responses to pre-class JiTT questions are used to develop interactive in-class activities aimed at helping students discover and address identified learning gaps. By making students’ critical thinking processes visible – prior to class – JiTT can help instructors make class time more effective for student learning. JiTT also facilitates the development of students’ abilities to reflect on and regulate their own learning processes, critical skills for deeper learning.
This interactive session will provide the rationale for using JiTT and include hands-on activities aimed at helping participants to explore its use in their own courses to promote students’ critical thinking skills, as well as opportunities for peer sharing and exchange of ideas.